The re-emergence of religion as a significant cultural, social and political, force is not gender neutral. Tensions between claims for women’s equality and the rights of sexual minorities on one side and the claims of religions on the other side are well-documented across all major religions and regions. It is also well recognized in feminist scholarship that gender identities and ethno-religious identities work together in complex ways that are often exploited by dominant groups. Hence, a more comprehensive understanding of the changing role and influence of religion in the public sphere more widely requires complex, multidisciplinary and comparative gender analyses.
Most recent discussion on these matters, however, especially in Europe, has focused primarily on the perceived subordinate status of Muslim women. These debates are a reminder of the deep interrelation of questions of gender, identity, human rights and religious freedom more generally. The relatively narrow (albeit important) purview of such discussions so far, however, underscores the need to extend the horizon of enquiry vis-à-vis religion, gender and the public sphere beyond the binary of ‘Islam versus the West’. Religion, Gender and the Public Spheremoves gender from the periphery to the centre of contemporary debates about the role of religion in public and political life. It offers a timely, multidisciplinary collection of gender-focused essays that address an array of challenges arising from the changing role and influence of religious organisations, identities, actors and values in the public sphere in contemporary multicultural and democratic societies.
"Religion, Gender and the Public Sphere contributes to a timely and generative re-thinking of gender and its place in contemporary debates over religion, secularism and the public sphere." – Heather White, New College of Florida, USA
"The volume represents solid scholarship, and is particularly valuable in terms of its critical and interrogative stance on the construction and unproblematized oppositions of the “religious” and the “secular” in general, or of the “secular” West and the “religious” non-Western world more specifically. It would be especially valuable as a classroom text for modules dealing with religion, culture and gender." - Susannah Cornwall, University of Exeter, UK
Introduction: Religion, Gender, and the Public Sphere: Mapping the TerrainNiamh Reilly Part 1: Identity, Religion, Migration, and Multiculture 1.Cultural Agency, Critical Agency: Multicultural Feminist Perspectives Sawitri Saharso 2. Religion and Gender in Contemporary Political Projects of Belonging Nira Yuval-Davis 3. Gendering Religious Capital: A Case Study of Female Mainland Chinese Migrants in Hong Kong Sam Wong 4. Gendering Religious Authority in the Diaspora: Shii Women in Ireland Yafa Shanneik Part 2: Contesting Religous Subjectivities Introduction Eilís Ward 5. The End of "Woman" and the Ends of Women: A Reflection on Women’s Rights in the Context of Catholicism and the Abortion Debate Tina Beattie 6.Contesting Subjectivities: Feminist Hermeneutics of Sikh Scripture Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh 7. The Gendered Politics of Religious Intimacies Stephanie Y. Mitchem 8. Gender, Buddhism, and the Bhikkhuni Ordination: Transnational Strategies for the Feminist Transformation of Religion in the 21st Century Emma Tomalin 9. Rebellious Bodies and Disordered Desires: The Challenge of Transsexuality to Influential Christian Theologies of Creation Duncan Dormor Part 3:Religion, Law, and Human Rights Introduction Niamh Reilly 10. Safeguarding Religious Freedom and Gender Equality: The Case For and Against Uniform European Human Rights StandardsTitia Loenen 11. Strengthening Women’s Rights in Contexts of Legal Pluralism: The Example of Mahr (Dower) Practices by Pakistani Muslims in Denmark Rubya Mehdi 12. Regulating Women's Bodies in the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights Esra Demir Gürsel 13. Guardianship in Marriage: Gender and Islamic Law in Palestine Fadwa Al-Labadi 14. The Right to Religion: Equal Right or Male Right? Alison Stuart Part 4: Religion, States, and Civil Society Introduction Rachel Pokora 15. Contentious Encounters: A Comparison of Developments in the Contemporary Indian and Pakistani Women’s Movements’ Relationships with Islam Nida Kirmani 16. Feminist Politics and the Governance of Migrant Integration through Religious Organizations Breda Gray 17. Defending Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Poland: A Pro-Choice Catholic Perspective Anka Grzywacz 18. Religious Persecution in Eritrea and the Role of the European Union in Tackling the Challenge Daniel R. Mekonnen and Mirjam van Reisen Part 5: Researching Religion, Constructing Knowledge: Theoretical Revisions and Methodological Challenges Introduction Stacey Scriver 19. Demythologizing Gender and Religion within Nation-States: Toward a Politics of Disbelief Naomi R. Goldenberg 20. From Fraternité to Mixité: Notes on How Gender Matters to the Secular Sarah Bracke 21. Exploring Religion, Sexuality, and Identity in Context: Reflections on Sociological Perspectives Vesna Malesevic 22. Conclusion: Gender Justice and the "Postsecular" Public Sphere: Toward Non-Oppressive ReconfigurationsNiamh Reilly and Stacey Scriver